When Butter's Good For You

Every Friday, Sixth Form students at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School attend lectures as part of the Sixth Form’s enrichment programme. Lectures are often delivered by external speakers on a range of subjects, including finance, law, mental health, the UCAS process and apprenticeships. Recently, BBC reporter and news anchor, Nicholas Owen, delivered a lecture on journalism, and Crispin Blunt MP is a regular speaker introducing students to the world of politics.

In October 2017, the Sixth Form welcomed endurance athlete, Nick Butter, as a special speaker. Nick delivered a lecture on his Running the World 196 trip, which will see him run marathons in every country in the world and fundraise for Prostate Cancer UK. Nick’s infectious enthusiasm and engaging delivery sparked an interest in one Year 12 pupil, AJ Hugall.

AJ had previously enjoyed running and described himself as “ok” at it, but after attending Nick’s lecture he decided to try his hand at long distance running. So he casually went for a run after school. It ended up being 30k and taking him 3 hours. He only stopped when he received a call from his mum asking him to come home. 

From there, AJ kept going. He did his first Reigate Priory Park Run and came in 109th place out of a field of 321 runners. When he is able, he still attends the Park Runs, and his latest results saw him improve his time by 7 minutes and achieve 14th place out of 300 people which included a group of 30 professional runners.

Going forward AJ wants to join a running club and, ultimately, beat Mr Woodward, PE and Science teacher at the School, on a run. When asked about the lecture that fuelled his interest in long distance running, AJ said, “It opened my eyes to how my favourite hobby could be turned into a professional sport. If Nick had not come, I wouldn’t really have realised.”

Running is still important for AJ but he admits that it takes a backseat to his school work. He is currently studying for A Levels in Physics, Maths and Psychology, and hopes to go to university and become a Civil Engineer.

Headmaster, Mark Dixon, said of AJ’s accomplishments, “It’s great to see one of our pupils exploring their talents and interests. AJ seems to be a natural runner, and I hope he continues to compete and enjoy the sport. I am very pleased that guest speakers are resonating with our students. Our Sixth Form Lecture Programme is not only tailored to guide our students on the next stage of their educational careers, but to also inspire and challenge them.” 

02 February 2018

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